The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition by the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in West Bengal urging the court to cancel a 2013 order by the state pollution control board banning the use of loudspeakers in February and March because of school examinations, the Hindustan Times reported. The prohibition applies in residential and institutional areas.
The court said children’s studies were more important than election campaigns. When Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi pointed out that school students write their exams around this time, lawyer Mukul Rohatgi – appearing for the BJP – said it was also the time the party has to organise rallies and public meetings.
As Gogoi proceeded to dismiss the petition, Rohatgi said he wished to withdraw the petition and approach the Calcutta High Court “to do some balancing”, Live Law reported. “If you want to withdraw, withdraw it,” Gogoi said. “But we are not giving any liberty to approach the High Court.”
The BJP had attacked the constitutional validity of the order and accused the Mamata Banerjee government of going “patently overboard”. The saffron party had claimed that the state government wanted to stop its legitimate political activities while it tries to build public support ahead of the General Elections.
This is the second time the BJP and the Trinamool Congress government have faced off in the top court in the past month. Last month, the court refused to permit the BJP from holding a rath yatra in the state. The Supreme Court was hearing the saffron party’s appeal against a Calcutta High Court order on the matter. However, the court allowed the saffron party to conduct meetings and rallies.